Plan to Eat Rare Swan Could Result in Charges Against Peter Maxwell Davies

Classic Arts News   Plan to Eat Rare Swan Could Result in Charges Against Peter Maxwell Davies
Composer Peter Maxwell Davies, who was appointed master of the Queen's music in March 2004, was recently given a warning for intending to cook and eat a rare whooper swan, the London Guardian reports.

The swan had flown into the power lines and died near Davies' home on the island of Sanday, in Orkney, Scotland. Davies reported the bird's death to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which, he said, told him to dispose of the carcass.

Davies told the Guardian he had planned to make a terrine from the swan's leg and breast meat.

Instead, he got a visit from the police, who gave him a warning and confiscated the bird, which they had spotting hanging—a process that allows the meat to mature—outside Davies' home.

According to the London Telegraph, the police told Davies he might have committed a felony by being in possession of a protected bird. A spokesman from the Northern Constabulary confirmed that Davies' house had been searched, and that inquiries were ongoing, despite the fact that the composer—whose friends say he is a staunch environmentalist—was not responsible for the swan's death.

Davies also gave the police officers a pair of swan's wings he was planning to give to a local school for a nativity play, and a swan leg he was keeping in the freezer.

Although he doesn't yet know if he'll be formally charged, Davies seemed in good humor about the incident. "In some ways I would welcome going to prison because I think the whole experience would inspire some very interesting music," he said.

"Naturally I've informed Buckingham Palace," he added. "Now I'm hoping I'll still be a free man—and not locked up in the Tower of London—at the time of my first big concert as master of the Queen's music."

Of his planned terrine, he said, "I've done it before, and it really is delicious...the meat is very dark and rich. It's a bit like pheasant with a hint of venison as well."

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